The Boss Baby might look, at first, like any other major studio animation release. It hits all the expected notes: the enduring importance of family, the persistence of untrustworthy/clueless adults, and the inherent hilarity of shoehorning David Mamet dialogue into a children's movie. You'll find a handful of genuine laughs, most courtesy of Alec Baldwin's shrewd performance, scattered within the usual mix of schmaltz and over-the-top action sequences. But aside from the slightly fresh take on a familiar concept, The Boss Baby is barely a moderate success as a kids flick. It works much better as an existential horror movie.
Modern existence is already pretty horrifying, and no one knows this better than 7-year-old Tim Templeton (voiced by Miles Bakshi), previously an only child but now faced with a baby brother who is far from your average infant — he wears a suit, carries a briefcase and is maniacally focused on convincing the Templetons (Jimmy Kimmel and Lisa Kudrow) to get rid of their oldest child. Turns out, Boss Baby has been sent to thwart an evil corporation's plan to swap puppies with babies as the focal source of human love. It seems Baby Corp. has many aspiring Babies in its employ, all working to defeat Puppy Co., whose CEO (Steve Buscemi) has vowed "no more babies." Those who succeed are promoted to true Boss Baby status (complete with golden potty). Those who fail are deprived of their special baby formula and turned into actual babies. In other words, this is a movie about an "infant" kept in a drug-induced, pre-toddler state, who must prevent a megalomaniac from committing global genocide.